Animal of the Month – Canvasback Duck

Canvasback Duck

The Canvasback Duck is a relatively large diving duck that is successfully raised in private collections, though its natural habitat is lakes and marsh areas across North America. In the winter, they migrate to the coastal shores and some inland lakes that do not freeze over. In the summer, they can migrate as far north as the Tundra.

Canvasbacks are diving ducks, so they dive in shallow water to feed on the bottom. Their diet consists mainly of vegetation such as plant tubers and seeds, as well as pondweeds, wild lettuces, and wild celery. On occasion, they will also eat mollusks, insects, and small fish.

Here at Lifesprings Farm and Aviary, we have found that they love it when we throw dried mealworms into the water for them to retrieve.

Identifying Canvasbacks is fairly easy, though they do resemble a Redhead Duck. Canvasback Duck females are a pale brown and gray, and have dark eyes. Breeding males, however, have white bodies with black on the chest and the rump. Their heads are a chestnut color and their eyes are red.

According to The Cornell Lab, their size is somewhere between a crow and a goose. They can weigh anywhere from 30.4 oz to 56 oz. Not only do they look similar to a Redhead, but they are nearly the same size, with Redheads being slightly smaller.

This summer in our aviary, we have hatched and are raising some Canvasback ducklings that we will have available for sale later in the season. They are a fun bird to watch dive and play on the water. Keep watching for further updates on the sale pages.

Published by Jeff and Rita

Rita is a wife, mother, homesteader, library branch manager, and freelance writer. She enjoys spending time in the garden and later preserving the harvest. Gardening, knitting, tending to chickens and other critters, and taking long summer walks are among her favorite activities. Jeff has had a long time love of waterfowl and gamebirds. He spends his time working part-time as a courier when he is not enjoying his collection of wild ducks and pheasants from around the world.

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